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 Post subject: How fragile are heatpipes?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:02 am 
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I'm asking because I was wondering if a large tower heatsink could be modded to fit a shorter case. I know it would hurt cooling a bit, but would it be even feasible to remove the top 4-5 fins from a tower heatsink and recrimp and/or bend over the top ends of the heatpipes to make it fit?

Probably not a mod I will ever really try either way, but I'm curious if it could even be done.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:05 am 
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A heatpipe contains a pretty good vacuum. It takes special equipment to seal a copper pipe while maintaining the vacuum inside. Without the vacuum, the heatpipe will not function. Bad idea to mess with it! :oops:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:41 am 
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Good to know. Thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:17 am 
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Heatpipes contain the coolant fluid/vapour as well. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:35 am 
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Well I've done mods to heatsinks with heatpipes. I've removed the top 5 fins on an Aerocool VM101 (they were a press-fit), then cut off about 1/3 of each fin to gain clearance for an optical drive. The fins just press back on.

And I had a bad clearance problem with one heatpipe on a Silverstone heatsink. I was able to bend it slightly, and squash it slightly.....without any problems.

Those heatsinks were 8mm thick, looked strong enough......but turned out to be very easy to modify.....too easy in fact. You have to be very careful here, not to kink the pipe. I've never heard of anybody rupturing a pipe by bending it.....but you never know.

Probably would be safer to just buy a heatsink that fits as is. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:58 pm 
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Kinking a heatpipe is bad like Bluefront said.

In one of the threads here, I saw a link to a Thermaltake Sonic Tower used on a graphics card. Both towers needed to be bent to be able to fit it inside the case. This was over 60 °. If done with care, it is possible, but I wouldn't want to try it if I didn't have a backup.

Sonic Tower on x1900xt - graphics card mod


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:04 pm 
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Heat pipes are designed to tolerate gentle bends (or even not-so-gentle, but smooth, bends).

So it is entirely feasible to cut away some fins and bend the pipes to make a heat sink fit a case.

As others have mentioned though, the pipes will cease to work if you cut, puncture or kink them.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:55 pm 
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A lot of good feedback here. As I said at the beginning, this is just something I've been thinking about. I don't really want to go out and buy a brand new heatsink that I know won't fit, just to see if the mod will work. But I've worked with copper tubing before, so I know it can be bent if careful. I just don't know how that affects the function of the system.

cmthomson wrote:
...the pipes will cease to work if you cut, puncture or kink them.


Do you mean "cease to work" altogether, or just won't work past the kink? say I need to remove 5 fins and the ends of the heatpipes stuck past the top fin by 4mm. If i pinch off the heatpipes 4mm from the new top fin and just fold them over (making sure not to puncture them), it seems that it would still work fine, unless there is something about the inner workings of heatpipes that I'm missing.

BTW, anyone know where I might be able to get old, used, or otherwise dirt cheap heatpipes to experiment with?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:23 am 
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If i pinch off the heatpipes 4mm from the new top fin and just fold them over (making sure not to puncture them), it seems that it would still work fine
It will, but I highly doubt you'll make it without puncturing. As it was said, heatpipes only tolerate smooth bends, for which, in your case, there is not enough spare length. _Possibly_ you can make pipe tips more flexible by annealing them, but you'll need something like a MAPP torch for that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 2:21 pm 
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I've managed to gently bend a U heatpipe into a L and back without it breaking :shock: did it on a thermalright v-1 gpu cooler but they did get pretty flat though but didn't seem to affect performance.


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